Software testers troubleshoot computer applications to ensure that we receive quality products. Working closely with software developers, testers contribute to every phase of a computer program’s creation, tracking every detail and documenting every flaw. Salaries for software testers vary by company and location, but most testers enjoy a comfortable living and have an enjoyable career in the exciting world of technology.
What Is the Role of a Software Tester?
Software testers – also called quality assurance technicians and QA testers – test the functionality of computer programs and applications before they go to market. In a nutshell, software testers try to break programs that software developers create in order to circumvent problems that can affect the end user.
Quality assurance technicians use computers and computer systems to test software. If a software developer tasks a QA tester with testing an application for iPads and Android systems, they conduct their testing on tablet computers. Likewise, the tester would test a server application on a computer server.
The work of a software tester may include testing the front end of an application, the view seen by customers, or examining and analyzing the computer code that drives the application. In many instances, numerous QA testers pore over a single application, each closely examining an individual part of the software.
A software tester for a computer gaming company might test a program’s ability to run smoothly on different computer operating systems. A quality assurance technician for an internet retailer might test the company’s online store on various browsers, or she might check security components such secure socket layer technology that encrypts customers’ personal data between their browsers and the company’s servers.
The role of a QA tester is always unique to the type of software his company produces.
Software Tester Salary
According to a Glassdoor study, software testers earn between $59,000 and $108,000 per year. Based on statistics compiled by Indeed, QA testers earn an average wage of around $33 per hour. Entry-level workers may start at a program tester salary of under $17 per hour, before advancing to junior-level positions, which pay nearly $25 per hour. Second-tier quality assurance technicians earn an average of more than $33 per hour, while senior testers take home nearly $50 per hour.
Software tester income can vary widely according to the company that employs them. For example, a search for QA tester jobs reveals positions at Wells Fargo that pay a QA tester salary of $46 per hour, while Microsoft offers quality assurance jobs for just over $17 per hour.
The location of a QA tester job might also play a role in the amount of money an employee makes. For example, software testers in Austin, Texas, make an average of about $29 per hour, while their counterparts in Dallas take home more than $42 per hour, according to Indeed. Quality assurance testers in Chicago earn an income of about $37 per hour, while in New York City, testers make around $45 per hour.
Quality Assurance Technician Job Duties
Oftentimes, quality assurance technicians are involved with a software application from the design phase, to its final marketplace release. Along the way, the QA tester analyzes the program to identify problems such as software incompatibilities, image or text distortions, malfunctioning computer scripts or formatting issues that affect visual display.
Software quality assurance technicians develop procedures and routines before testing programs. They collaborate closely with software developers and keep meticulous records of the problems they discover. In most cases, a QA tester must perform numerous retests on an application, through each development phase.
Essential Characteristics of a Software Tester
To be a successful software tester, you must possess certain personal and professional characteristics. QA testers must have good listening skills to understand complex instructions, along with good written communication skills to document and explain detailed technical issues.
Critical thinking, logic and reasoning play important roles in software testing, because testers often work independently while putting programs through the paces. QA testers must understand the limited technical knowledge of end users to determine if an application offers intuitive functionality.
The quality assurance technician role demands a worker who is dependable, yet flexible, so that he can keep up with the twists and turns of software development. QA testers must possess a high level of integrity and a willingness to prevent problems from reaching consumers.
Education of a QA Technician
Typically, companies seek QA technicians who have at least a bachelor’s degree in subjects such as software development, computer science or computer programming. Some companies accept candidates who have related experience or offer on-the-job training for QA positions that do not require a high degree of technical knowledge. Some community colleges and technical schools offer associate’s degree or certificate programs in quality assurance and computer programming.
Job Outlook for Software Testers
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not provide data specific to the software tester profession. However, the BLS does offer substantial information about software developers, who usually work hand-in-hand with QA testers.
According to the BLS, opportunities for software developers should increase by nearly 25 percent, through 2026.